VANCOUVER -- A 32-year-old Canadian woman who has been declared brain dead is being kept on life support in a Victoria, British Columbia hospital, with doctors working to keep her alive long enough to deliver her unborn son.
Robyn Benson was just 22 weeks pregnant when she complained of a headache and then collapsed on her bathroom floor, according to postings on a blog and fundraising site by her husband Dylan Benson. Her fetus, already named Iver Cohen Benson, has continued to grow in the womb.
"On December 28th, I lost my wife to a sudden hemorrhage of blood to her brain," Benson wrote. "Based on my decision, they are attempting to keep her body alive for up to 7 more weeks ... Incredibly, they have been successful in doing this for 5 weeks now."
The goal is to wait until the fetus reaches 34 weeks, giving the baby a greater chance of survival, according to Benson. He wrote that doctors plan to deliver his son via cesarean section and that the baby will spend his first few weeks in hospital.
That sets up a bittersweet deadline for the family, who will welcome a new baby and then take the mother off life support.
"It is very difficult to know that our son will grow
up never meeting his wonderful mother, and that we will have to say our goodbyes
to Robyn within hours of seeing Iver for the first time," Benson wrote.
"She was my rock. She did so much for us, and I can't believe I won't get
to talk to her again."
Texas authorities had fought to keep Munoz on life support in a case that sparked fierce debate over the rights of a fetus versus the right to die.
A spokeswoman for the Vancouver Island health authority confirmed that there is a patient named Robyn Benson in the intensive care unit at the Victoria General Hospital, but was not able to provide further details due to privacy issues.
The Benson family's plight has gripped people across Canada and around the world, with donations on their fundraising site topping $133,000 by Thursday.
That has far exceeded the $36,000 goal set by Benson, who had hoped to raise funds for bills, baby supplies and to allow him to more time at home with his new son after the birth.
"I wish Robyn could see it. It's tough for all of us but I'm just so thankful. Every little bit goes to help me and Iver," Dylan Benson told CBC News. "I'm positively overwhelmed."